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November 3, 2012

Berlin - 2012

Berlin is a big bustling city and it is almost impossible to imagine that 75% of it was destroyed in WWII and is now rebuilt.   We took a Hop On/Hop Off bus on our day of arrival, to stay awake after an overnight flight from the US.  It was a wonderful way to see many of the sights that were further from the center of the City.  The Soviet style architecture of East Berlin differs greatly from the resonstruction done in West Berlin.

We took a 3 hour Third Reich walking tour on the second day (Original Berlin Walks).  Our guide was a PhD candidate and not only did she discuss lots of important history with us, but she was very interested in discussing the shame of being a German.  Her grandfather was a Nazi, in a small village in Germany, and spent a year in prison after the war.  School children must learn the history of WWII 5 times in their school curriculum and there are required visits to the scenes of terror and death. 

These are drawings done while walking with our guide.  The detail of the facade of the Reichstag and the Soviet Memorial (to the soldiers who fought in the Battle of Berlin) were drawn while listening. 

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For each walking tour, I did a drawing of our itinerary in my sketchbook, so I would remember some details.

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The Reichstag Dome was closed for annual cleaning and maintenance, but we were able to walk around it, see Berlin from the rooftop terraces, and then have a fabulous lunch at the restaurant overlooking Berlin.  It is definitely worth making a reservation for lunch in the restaurant (Kafer Berlin GmbH) during a visit.

Here is my photo of the Dome, by Sir Norman Foster, seen from the entrance on the roof. 

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October 31, 2012

More Photos - Childrens' Memorial in Lidice in Czech Republic

I am posting some more photos that I took of the Children's Memorial in Lidice.  They are for you Kate!  Over eighty children were rounded up and murdered, along with others in their families, because the Nazis incorrectly blamed their Czech village for the assassination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrick.

 See my previous blog post for the full photo and more information about Lidice.

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October 27, 2012

Visiting Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary

We just returned from our visit to Berlin, Dresden, Prague and Budapest.  I sketched throughout our trip, but we were almost always on the move and most of my sketchbook pages were done while walking.  Each day I also selected one image to paint in the 2 X 2" grid I made before we left.  Here is the completed grid.

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It was very important for me to visit these cities and to learn more of their history during WWII and the Soviet occupation that followed.  We spent one full day in Prague visiting Lidice and Terezin, and this was one of the most memorable days of our trip.  The Nazis totally destroyed the town of Lidice (shooting the men, gassing the children, and transporting the women to the camps) to revenge the assasination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.  Here is a photo I took of the current site of the non-Jewish farming and mining Czech town.

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We toured the museum, and saw the memorials in Lidice.  The statue, created by Maria Uchytilova (1969-89) memorialized the 82 children that were murdered.  It is extraordinary!

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I sketched several children and then added candles that were painted on the wall in a hidden Terezin synagogue room (created by imprisoned Danish Jewish craftsmen) and one of the very large Terazin memorials (that is in a cemetary field where prisoners who died of typhus etc were buried).  Terazin was the "model" Nazi camp - the one that the Red Cross visited to "falsely" assess the conditions in Nazi camps.  However, it was a transfer station on the way to Auschwitz - and the majority of prisoners from Terazin were transported and murdered there.

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There were many artists held prisoner in Terezin (also called Theresienstadt) and the art museum contains secret drawings and paintings that were done, before they were murdered in Auschwitz.  There is a large book containing all of these,that was published in 2002, entitled Art Against Death.  It was too big and heavy to carry home, but I loved it so much that I will search for it in the US.

October 6, 2012

Berlin, Prague, and Budapest

We are going to Berlin, Prague, and Budapest this month and I recycled an old $2.00 book to use as my watercolor sketchbook.  I searched for an old book that had some theme that would relate to our trip, but wasn't sure how to connect these places.  At the first used book store, on the first cart, I found a book called Lili Marlene.  It is a wonderful historical book about the song that became the most famous song of World World II.

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The words were written by a young German soldier, while on sentry duty during WWI.  The famous score was written many years later, and the song as we know it was played nightly by the Nazi Radio Belgrade.  The radio station could be heard by both the axis and allied soldiers, and all of them turned on their radios nightly before bed to hear Lale Anderson and then Marlene Dietrich sing Lili Marlene.

I loved reading the book before replacing the page block with watercolor paper.  I used some of the photos and drawings to collage a spread to document my inspiration for selecting this book for my trip.  My method for making recycled books can be seen in this 4 part tutorial.

 

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Several pages were already painted for our trip.  It helps me get into the sketchbook more easily as soon as we arrive at the airport.

A sample of the art supplies and palette that I will bring.  I actually have gold, silver and white Signo pens and 4 Niji waterbrushes in my pencil case. 

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One page that I prepared for a small 2 x 2" highlight drawing for each day.  It is so much fun to see these pages at the end of each of my trips.

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One page from calendar grid that I will complete each day:

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The completed  2x2 drawings and calendar from our trip to Venice can be seen here in my completed Venice Sketchbook blog entries.

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